4 Amazing Health Benefits Of Tongkat Ali & How To Take It

A remedy from Asia to lay your intimacy woes to bed, but you need to be aware of the risks.

Medically reviewed by Staci Gulbin, RD, LDN Staci Gulbin Staci GulbinRD, LDN linkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Swathi Handoo MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Payal Karnik MSc (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2.5 years
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Tongkat ali is a plant root that has been used in folk medicine for centuries. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is used as a traditional medicine to treat many ailments. The benefits of tongkat ali are numerous and can be attributed to its active components. Fresh and dried extracts of this plant root are used as herbal medicine to treat erectile dysfunction, control blood glucose levels, and help treat age-related physical and mental disorders.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Tongkat Ali

What Is It?
A medicinal herb plant root with a bitter taste and a sweet and smoky smell.

What Are Its Benefits?
It improves athletic performance, boosts testosterone, maintains bone health, and regulates diabetes.

Who Can Consume It?
Anyone can consume this except people with a weak immune system and those on diabetes and blood pressure medications.

How Often?
You can take between 200 – 400 mg every day.

Caution
Avoid consuming this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Excess consumption may cause mild nausea or stomach cramps.

Here, we explore the potential health benefits of tongkat ali, a list of its active compounds, and how you can use it in your diet. Keep reading.

What Is Tongkat Ali?

Tongal ali or pasak bumi or Malaysian ginseng or longjack
Image: Shutterstock

Eurycoma longifolia a.k.a Tongkat ali, Pasak Bumi, Malaysian Ginseng, or Longjack is a medicinal herb that grows in parts of Vietnam, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand.

For many years, the plant parts of this herb have been lauded for their aphrodisiac, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antimalarial, and revitalizing properties (1).

These properties are due to Tongkat ali’s rich biochemical composition. These active components primarily boost testosterone levels. Drinking tongkat root tea regularly might help men and women improve their libido (2).

With age, testosterone levels drop. This causes several bone, brain, and metabolic disorders. Tongkat ali, according to scientific evidence, can be of great help in such cases.

Go to the next section to see how and why tongkat ali is also called the Malaysian Viagra.

protip_icon Fun Fact
Tongkat Ali means ‘Ali’s walking stick,’ referencing the aphrodisiac properties of the plant.

What Are The Benefits Of Tongkat Ali?

Eurycoma longifolia or tongkat ali has potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal activity. Some components of the tongkat ali extract are known to have antimalarial properties. Regular supplementation of tongkat ali can reduce stress, anxiety, anger, and confusion. The root extracts have phytochemicals that reduce cortisol levels and protect your body from various stresses.

“Let’s take a look at its benefits in detail:”

1. Improves Performance In Athletes And Bodybuilders

Tongkat ali may improve athletic performance
Image: Shutterstock

Tongkat ali is a part of several sports and bodybuilding supplements. This herbal extract can increase energy levels, decrease cortisol, and enhance exercise performance. These effects could be because of the probable increase in serum testosterone levels in athletes.

Studies on male and female athletes showed a spike in the bioavailability of free testosterone upon tongkat ali supplementation. A daily dose of 400 mg tongkat ali for 5 weeks improved muscle force in older men and women (3).

Another study showed that consuming a herbal drink with 0.1 mg/100 ml Tongkat Ali enhanced running performance in cyclists (4).

2. Can Boost Testosterone And Libido In Men

Tongkat ali may increase testosterone levels in men
Image: Shutterstock

Using tongkat ali extract (200 mg/day) can act as a testosterone booster in men.

Traditionally, this herb was used to treat sexual health issues. It was used to improve stamina, libido, and overall endurance for better sexual performance. Though the mechanism remains unclear, it is speculated that the “eurypeptides” in tongkat ali could be involved (2).

Eurypeptides are a group of small peptides in this herb. They are thought to influence the rate of release of bound testosterone from sex-hormone-binding-hormone (SHBG).

The Malaysians used tongkat ali as an aphrodisiac for impotence and erectile dysfunction as well as an energy booster (2).

A rat study performed in 2017 demonstrated how tongkat ali extracts could counter penile contraction. Its semi-purified root extract can treat erectile dysfunction by working on the angiotensini  A hormone that helps regulate blood pressure by restricting blood vessels and increasing water and sodium consumption. system (5).

3. Helps Maintain Bone Health In Aging Men And Women

Tongal ali for good bone health
Image: Shutterstock

As you age, your skeletal system gets affected the most. This might be because of the depleting levels of the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone.

Particularly in men, testosterone deficiency leads to reduced bone strength, lean body mass, and calcium absorption. Some studies also suggest such hypogonadismi  A medical term indicating reduced functional activity of ovaries or testes. Assisted reproduction is one of its possible treatments. impairs the activity of estrogen too. All these might cumulatively give rise to osteoporosis and frequent fractures or dislocations (6).

As an alternative to testosterone replacement therapy, supplements containing herbs like tongkat ali can improve the condition in these older individuals.

Tongkat ali is known for increasing the serum testosterone level. It can, therefore, help male and female menopausal osteoporosis (6).

4. Might Help Regulate Diabetes

Tongkat ali might regulate diabetes
Image: Shutterstock

It was observed across several rat studies that tongkat ali extracts could also regulate blood glucose levels.

In hyperglycemic rats, blood glucose levels saw a drop by about 38% – 47% after consumption of the supplement. In normal rats that had optimal glycemic levels, no change was observed (7).

This effect is attributed to increased insulin sensitivity brought about by tongkat ali components. A small dose (50 μg/mL) of the herbal extract enhanced glucose uptake by 200%!

Tongkat ali root extracts showed the ability to reduce lipid accumulation and increase insulin sensitivity in a dose-dependent manner. Hence, this herb can be a comprehensive treatment option for diabetes (7).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Tongal Ali is also an adaptogen as it helps the body adapt to different kinds of physical, chemical, or biological stress.

Are you wondering what compounds in tongkat ali are responsible for all these benefits? Check out the next section for the answer.

What Are The Active Components Of Tongkat Ali?

Eurycoma longifolia has various active biochemicals that are responsible for the benefits you just read about. The most extensively characterized compounds include β-carboline alkaloids, quassinoids, canthin-6-one alkaloids, and squalene derivatives (7).

Steroids like eurycolactone, eurycomalactone, laurycolactone, and biphenyl neolignan are reported. Triterpenes, including tirucallane and eurylene, along with propanoidsi  An abundant source of metabolites in plants, necessary for the production of lignin that are considered to have antioxidant properties. like scopolin and propan are also present in the extracts (7), (8).

Quassinoids are the major constituents and impart the characteristic bitter taste to this Malaysian ginseng root. The β-Carboline and Canthin-6-one alkaloids are nitrogen-containing components that give tongkat ali its insect-repellent properties (7).

What a unique phytochemical profile for a simple shrub! Aren’t we envious of those who’ve been using this holistic herb traditionally?

You don’t have to envy them anymore! This is because tongkat ali is available for the world to use. You can find various forms of this potent herb in the marketplace.

Eager to know what they are? Jump to the next section!

How Do You Take Tongkat Ali?

Tongkat Ali is currently available in various forms on the markets. You can find them as vegetarian capsules, liquid extract, root extract powder, and alcohol-free tincture.

It is recommended to use them only under medical guidance since certain formulations might be very potent. Your body might not need or not be able to handle certain doses mentioned by the manufacturer. Therefore, consult your doctor for the right dosage and directions to use.

Animal studies showed that administration of tongkat ali alcohol extract up to 200-350 mg/kg/day was not toxic. Some mice and rat studies quote a daily dose below 1000-1200 mg/kg body weight to be safe and non-toxic (9).

According to these studies, oral administration of tongkat ali is about 100 times less toxic than intraperitoneal injections (9).

But is tongkal ali safe for all? Let us find that out in the next section.

Is Tongkat Ali Safe?

Tongkat Ali is generally considered safe when consumed in the right dosage. According to a 2012 study conducted on 109 men, consuming 300 mg of tongkat ali water extract for a 12-week period is as safe as taking a placebo, and it showed significant improvement in the participants’ quality of life (10). Another study also showed that taking up to 1.2 g of this herb per day is safe for adults (11). However, according to a report, consuming a high dose of 2,000 mg/kg body weight may lead to DNA damage in the stomach and duodenum (beginning part of the small intestine) tissues (12). Therefore, it is important to consult your doctor to determine the right dosage.

Infographic: 4 Ways Tongkat Ali Improves Your Health

This old plant root has been a part of many cultures and traditions and has often been used to treat various ailments. If you have not been aware of this potent component and still need a push to add it in your dietary routine, take a look at the infographic below. Check it out to know 4 ways tongkat ali can extensively improve your health.

4 ways tongkat ali improves your health (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

In Short…

Tongkat ali is an herbal remedy with a long history in folk medicine. The numerous benefits of Tongkat ali can be attributed to its several active components. It improves performance in athletes and bodybuilders, boosts testosterone and libido in men, maintains bone health in aging men and women, and regulates diabetes. It is available as capsules, liquid extracts, powder, and alcohol-free tinctures. Also, there are no documented side effects of Tongkat ali. Hence, consume it in the recommended dosage to reap its maximum benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to take Tongkat Ali?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that you should take Tongkat Ali in the morning.

Is Tongkat Ali good for the prostate?

Yes. Tongkat Ali may even help reduce prostate cancer risk (13).

Is Tongkat Ali good for blood pressure?

Yes. Tongkat Ali is a good source of alkaloids, terpenesi  Fragrant chemicals that give many plants and herbs, such as lavender and rosemary, their distinctive scents. , and polyphenols that may help maintain blood pressure (14).

Is Tongkat Ali the same as Maca root?

No. However, both Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia) and maca (Lepidium meyenii) are natural supplements, good for boosting male fertility.

Key Takeaways

  • Tongkat ali is a medicinal herb found in Vietnam, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand.
  • It is known for its aphrodisiac, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, antimalarial, and rejuvenating effects.
  • Tongkat ali help improve performance in athletes and bodybuilders, increases testosterone and libido in men, maintains bone health in aged men and women, and possibly regulates diabetes.
  • You can find them as vegetarian capsules, liquid extract, root extract powder, and alcohol-free tincture.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack): a review on its…” Fitoterapia, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Effect of Tongkat Ali on stress hormones and psychological…” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Heavy Resistance Training and Supplementation With the Alleged…” Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Herbal medicine for sports: a review” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Effects of Root Extracts of Eurycoma longifolia Jack on…” Medical Principles and Practice, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Eurycoma longifolia: Medicinal Plant in the Prevention and…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Review on a Traditional Herbal Medicine, Eurycoma longifolia” Molecules, US National Library of Medicine.
  8. Review Ergogenic Effect of Long Jack, Eurycoma longifolia” Pharmacognosy Review, US National Library Of Medicine.
  9. In vivo effects of Eurycoma longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali)…” Andrologia 2014, Academia.
  10. Randomized Clinical Trial on the Use of PHYSTA Freeze-Dried Water Extract of Eurycoma longifolia for the Improvement of Quality of Life and Sexual Well-Being in Men” Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
  11. Evaluation of Acute 13-Week Subchronic Toxicity and Genotoxicity of the Powdered Root of Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia Jack)” Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, Hindawi.
  12. Safety of Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) root extract as a novel food pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/2283” EFSA Journal, Wiley.
  13. The In Vitro and In Vivo Anti-Cancer Activities of a Standardized Quassinoids Composition from Eurycoma longifolia on LNCaP Human Prostate Cancer Cells.” Plos One.
  14. The Powdered Root of Eurycoma longifolia Jack Improves Beta-Cell Number and Pancreatic Islet Performance through PDX1 Induction and Shows Antihyperglycemic Activity in db/db Mice” Nutrients.
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Staci Gulbin

Staci GulbinMS, MEd, RD, LDN

Staci Gulbin is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2010 and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition and dietetics industry. Staci has also been applying her health and wellness knowledge to writing and editing for websites, such as CDiabetes,...read full bio

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